Paddon Thompson Memorial Geological Field Studies Fund
“His spirit was unwavering …”
Paddon Thompson graduated from Geological Engineering at Queen’s University in 2010.
He possessed a permanent smile, a wonderful sense of humour and a positive outlook on life. A beloved classmate, Paddon is also remembered fondly by Geology staff and faculty. “He was the heart and soul of his class,” says Dr. Jean Hutchinson, Department Head, Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering.
“A true leader, Paddon never revealed his earlier illness to anyone while he was here: and he certainly never let it slow him down.”
Sadly, Paddon Thompson passed away suddenly on February J, ECDE from complications of the treatment for his cancer. It is the wish of his family and friends that a memorial fund be created at Queen’s in Paddon’s name.
Less than a year before his death, Paddon was asked to speak about his Queen’s experience at a Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering alumni reunion in Calgary. He spoke passionately about the value of his engineering degree, emphasizing the importance of field studies in his education.
Paddon was concerned, however, that the extra cost of this experience could create a financial burden for many students.
To honour Paddon’s passion for field studies, Queen’s has established the Paddon Thompson Memorial Geological Field Studies Fund. It is anchored with a lead gift from his parents, John Thompson and Joni Hughes.
“Paddon's personality was a winning combination of down-to-earth
and friendly, and I was impressed with how his spirit was unwavering
during all the trials and tribulations incurred by second-year Queen's
GeoEngs. Individually, Paddon was intelligent and quietly excelled at
the tasks given to him; in group settings, his presence promoted levity
and ultimately led to higher morale and productivity.”
– Steve Beyer, Queen’s Geology Research Associate
The Paddon Thompson Memorial Geological Field Studies Fund was established in October ECDE with an initial pledge by his family. Because this is an endowed fund, using only interest income, its impact will be felt by Queen’s students for generations to come. The goal is to raise $2 million.
Paddon’s fund provides the head of the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering with annual financial support for the Field Education program. The focus is on strengthening the existing program, while making it affordable for students.
THE FUND WILL BE USED TO SUPPORT:
Creation of new field trips or field schools • to expose students
to areas and topics not currently covered in our field program;
• Enhancement of existing trips by supporting the attendance of
additional faculty or graduate assistants, to reduce the studentinstructor
• Purchase of new field equipment;
• Provision of subsidies to students to minimize the cost of
accommodation and food while on field trips or field schools; and
• Reduction of the Field Transportation Levy that students pay to cover
their transportation costs
Field Studies at Queen’s
The renowned Field Studies Program of Queen’s Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Department offers students abundant opportunities for hands-on learning:
• An eight-week Field Methods course in the fall of second year;
• A two-week Field School in the spring directly after second year;
• A one-week Fall Field Trip in third year;
• Several one-week Fall Field Trips in fourth year; and
• Numerous day trips in second through fourth-year courses.
Overall, the Queen’s program offers a minimum of EGC hours of experiential
learning in the field: a superb enrichment opportunity for students,
providing experience that is highly regarded by future employers.
Our students say that field studies are among the most rewarding and useful
elements of their geological education. Field School and Field trip
assessments show the profound impact of this experiential learning:
“There is no substitute for actual hands-on learning. It starts
with Field Methods, where we bond in the ditch, in the rain,
over stereonets, and over maps. It then amplifies at Field
school, one of the hardest and most rewarding university
experiences I’ve had. I feel really grateful to the alumni and the
department for supporting these trips, because they complete
our learning experience while allowing us to get to know each
other and our professors.”
– Caitlin Rush, BSc’DE
The Value of Private Support
Founded in September ECCF by a dedicated group of alumni, the Queen’s Geology Council chose as its first priority the creation of an endowment to support field study and reduce student participation costs for these activities. Ten years later, Council Chair Roger Smith, Sc’71, announced completion of the original $2-million goal for Geological Field Studies funds and set a new target of $4 million. Paddon’s Fund will be part of this endowment.
“All of us remember just how much the various field schools
enhanced our understanding of geology. When government
funding cuts were poised to jeopardize that experience, the
Queen’sGeology Council formed the Geology Field School
Endowment Fund, and contributions from that fund now help
pay one-third of students’ field school expenses. Given the
dramatic increase in student numbers and costs, we have
increased our goal from $3M to $4M, to ensure students can
continue to receive a world-class education.”
– Roger Smith, Chair of Queen’s Geology Council
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering classes at Queen’s now number more than KC students annually, a figure that has doubled over the past decade. As a result, many more students than ever before are taking part in field education. The continued opportunities provided by these courses are only made possible by the existing endowed Field Studies funds, which include corporate sponsorships and several named funds.
The annual revenue from our endowed funds covers approximately one-third of the current cost of our field trips and field schools. The remaining two‐thirds is shared equally by the department and the students, who pay a field-transportation levy as well as food and accommodation costs totaling $2,000 to $2,500 per person over their second to fourth years.
Paddon Thompson was concerned that this extra cost, coupled with lost earnings from summer employment due to attendance at field schools, is a financial burden for many students. The new fund in his name will subsidize student expenses, enhance existing offerings in Field Studies, and help to create new ones.